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Poltava Province



History of Lubny

Jerome Wisniowieki
Jerome Wisniowiecki (1612-1651), Master of Lubny


Lubny has a reputation as one of the oldest cities of the Ukraine, with a settlement date that preceeds 1000AD. It is situated on the Sula river and it was first represented there by a wooden fort, then by a series of more fortified buildings reflecting its position as a bulwark of Polish claims in the Ukraine. In the sixteenth century, ownership had passed to the Polish noble family Wisniowiecki (its leaders in different time periods are written in some modern Ukrainian sources as "Prince Vishnevetsky") family. Jerome Wisniowiecki (1612-1651) governed an estate larger than some European countries on the left bank of the Dnieper with Lubny as its "capital," with the full panoply of Polish officials and thousands of serf laborers. Lubny was his personal capital as well as the "wowoide" headquarters (the Polish unit of provincial government) until the Cossack Rebellion (and Khmelnitsky Massacres.)

The Cossack rebellions of the 1640s saw the Polish claims surrender the left bank to the force of Ukrainian Cossacks and the Cossack's Muscovite allies. From c.1650 to the end of the eighteenth century, Lubny was the headquarters of the Cossack forces including that unit called the Lubny Regiment.

When the Russians established Poltava Gubernia, Poltava was the largest city and capital of the Gubernia and Lubny was the second largest. At one time, Poltava Gubernia had over 400 annual fairs including those at Poltava, Lubny, and Romny. These fairs provided huge revenues to the Russian Empire. During the early part of the nineteenth century, it was those fairs that drew thousands of Jews from other parts of the Russian Pale of Settlement, many from as far away as Kovno, and Grodno to the new opportunities here. But the real revenues began flowing to the Russian crown when Lubny became part of the Russian railroad system at the end of the nineteenth century.

Families from Lubny

Lubny vendor carts 1910
Vendors Carts in Lubny, 1910. The third cart from the left belongs to the grandparents of Gayle Schissel Riley, who contributed the photo.

Jacob Shapiro in the army
Jacob Shapiro of Lubny with Army buddies.
Photo contributed by Gale Schissel Riley

Lubny mother and child Holocaust
Mother with her child in Lubny. October, 1941.

This emotionally moving picture of a mother sitting exhausted with her children at Lubny, just moments before the executions would begin here, reaches out to touch us over the decades. The picture is part of the documentary archives from the Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv. It is part of a series of pictures taken at Lubny October 15, 1941 and used as evidence in war crimes prosecution. Most of Lubny's young men were serving in the Soviet Army, many of the young adults who could flee had done so, but that day in October 1941, close to 4,500 Jews were taken to a site outside the city and murdered. They were the young, the old, homemakers, and those who stayed to take care of them. This woman and her children were among them.

(by Deborah G. Glassman, copyright 2005)


  • Last Modified: 02-20-2012
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